USPTA certification exam


in a months time i am taking my uspta certification exam, got the study material for it and i must say at first glance it looks overwhelming.... im 20 and would like to pass this exam. i've been working at a club for about 3 months now.

... any uspta out there with advice on what to expect, how to study, some words of encourgement, etc.



You will do yourself a favor by attending the Certification Training Class, usually offered the day before testing.

There isn't much you can do about the hitting test since that is going to test how good you can control the ball. You will want to read the text and take notes especially on the sections of management, history, and court maintenence as these are areas that many pros are not familiar with.

In taking the private and group lesson test, you will want to know what is expected: call each student by name at least four times, design the lesson around one main issue; keep the group active yet working on specific stroke or strategy issues during the lesson, be vocal, outgoing, and feed well.

Few people pass with a P-1 the first time they take the test. So, don't sweat it yet work as hard as you can to pass with a high score on the written. Also, the stroke analysis test can be hard for some people, however it is really a fairly basic recognition of faults that most teaching pros who have taught for a while can pass easily.

Good luck.

Mountain Ghost


The answers for the written test are almost all in the book, so read it thoroughly and write down notes when you come across things you don’t know. If you’re a “real” player, most of it should be familiar, except for maybe the business terms and some history of the game. Be sure you know the differences between the classical and the modern game, as well as 3 advantages and 3 disadvantages for every grip, their names and associated bevel numbers (index knuckles and palm heels).

For stroke analysis (on DVD), take a quick scan over every part of the player’s body. You’ll get like 3 chances to watch a stroke and then 3 chances to watch the modified stroke. You’ll need to identify the primary difference, and explain it.

The private and group lessons are 25 minutes, so there’s no time to waste, since you’ll be downgraded if you don’t cover EVERY base, from the initial introductions and warm-up, all the way through the lesson to picking up the balls, reviewing the lesson and assigning on and off-court homework. Practice giving lessons to strangers if you can, get used to calling them by name often and grade yourself using the lesson exam pages in the book. Writing out a generic lesson plan may help. Basically, the goal is to identify the primary flaw, describe and demonstrate the correction and use a progression to fix it. If you’re a “real” teacher, you shouldn’t have a problem helping the student(s) assigned to you.

For stroke reproduction, practice accuracy and steadiness. Being pretty and/or powerful alone won’t cut it. Throughout the exam, you don’t have to be great at anything, but you need to be consistently good at everything.



New User
I am reading the replies and thanks for the in sites. I am thinking about taking the exam. I just got back from both the Wimbledon and US Open's TTC. Took lots of notes. I took in the past the Microsoft MCSE exam, 7 tests so I know what to expect as to how hard the test might be. The MCSE Exams were 60 questions multiple-choice with a 2 hour time to complete. This sounds easy but each question was about 1-2 paragraphs long and took a lot of concentration to understand. For the MCSE certification exams they have practice exams so I could see what the questions were going to be like. This helped a lot.
Are there any practice test I can review?
I have been working with a tennis pro for about 4 years now as a junior hitting partner and assistant coach teaching juniors as well as adults in the 3.0-4.0 level. I also have a small business in video analysis. I make slow motion videos and then analyze then comment/ VoiceOver the slow-mo video. I find some issues with a persons swing are not so apparent until I see it in slow-mo.
Also, is the exam a timed test? And how many questions are on each part? I play out of the San Francisco Tennis Club and they do the on court part of the testing there. I have watched it a few times. The coach I have been working with recently was testing my on how many shots of each type I could get in. He did not mention it was for training to take the exam per say. He says to just be relaxed but focused. Don't try to hit really hard/ show off because that doesn't matter. How many you can get in in a row cleanly is the important thing.

John Gerard


Hall of Fame
Even if you have been teaching and playing for some time there are a couple of areas that "could" mess you up a little. The advice given by previous posters is solid and I'm not going to go over the areas already covered.

In the "on court" section, I think one of the things that gets to many is the dropshot that has to bounce three times before it get to about a foot behind the serviceline without going out. Of the ten that were in my class, I wasn't aware that anyone did very well in this area and have discovered since that this has been a problem for others also. The testors were not happy with our groups performance in the drop shot area and let us know in no uncertain terms of their displeasure at the end. I am also aware that some modifications have been made to this area also.

I was aware that a couple in my class seemed to get "tight" during the testing that had to effect their overall score. All were good/accomplished players but maybe just the circumstances got to them. Could be they hadn't had much play on har-tru, lesson experience or having everyone else watch their strokes. I kinda liked the little "extra" pressure having your peers watch but some seemed bothered.

Several of us hit briefly during the few "down times" between lessons and all of these people were good players and hit hard, consistent strokes.

Make sure you bring a lot of water and snacks because your probably going to be going for six hours straight without much of a break and it was hot.

I also thought the stroke analysis section weak. I didn't have a great seat to watch the screen and probably should have moved but thought this area very subjective.

Although I was quite satisfied with my scores, I would also question a couple of the answers on the written parts. Most were fair but a few were confusing to me - not many but a few.


It's been 4 years since I passed my test so I don't remember all the details.
I received my studying material the Tuesday of the test week, which gave me about 4 days. And I passed with a P2.

For the written part, if you study the study material they send you, you will be fine. I remember the test covered every section.
Even the history part. So don't skip any sections if you want to pass with high scores.

For the group and private lessons. My suggestion is to practice giving both before your exam. I gave free group and private lessons to my friends the week of my exam and did well.

I rushed my group lesson exam and ended it about 5 mins early.
So watch your timing.

this was the reason why I didn't get my P1!! :(


New User
I think the most important thing to do, as someone else mentioned (and aside from studying the material they give you for the written exam) is to attend a session beforehand. It didn't cost anything (at least back in the day when I did it) and you will see what'll be expected of you. I wasn't planning to just observe but after I arrived, that's what was recommended so I headed their advice.

Along with what others have said about what to do during the instruction sessions, be sure to come up with a logical progression. For the private, I had to do the serve. Pretty easy. Can't remember what the group lesson topic was.

I thought the skill/hitting session was the easiest and the instructors were REALLY lenient in my opinion with regard to various spins etc. I probably would have failed many. :)

Also thought the stroke analysis was pretty easy but most in my class really struggled. Was common for people to identify a SYMPTOM but not the cause. Like "he's hitting with more topspin" but the cause would be either a grip change, change in the swing path or whatever.


The testors were not happy with our groups performance in the drop shot area and let us know in no uncertain terms of their displeasure at the end. I am also aware that some modifications have been made to this area also.

Where is the drop shot hit from during the test? Inside the baseline or the service line?


Hall of Fame
Its my memory that the testor feeds from the baseline and the applicant is on the serviceline. Ball has to clear the net and bounce thee times in bounds before it travels about a foot beyond the service-line - the place a rope accoss the court. Its not the easiest thing to do if you haven't practiced it.